Sharad Pawar gets angry letter from ICC over World Cup tickets

Upset with the way the sales of the World Cup tickets have been handled, the International Cricket Council (ICC) wrote a letter to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief Sharad Pawar.

Updated: February 24, 2011 12:26 IST
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New Delhi: The gloves are off. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has sent Sharad Pawar a letter outlining the disastrous mismanagement of tickets for the World Cup.

Mr Pawar is Chairman of the World Cup Central Organising Committee.

The letter is written by David Becker, who is the Head of Legal of the ICC. It points out that upset fans are complaining that tickets bought online months ago from Kyazoonga, the official ticketing partner for the event, are yet to be delivered. Kyazoonga's website also crashed on Tuesday when 1,000 tickets for the final went on sale.

The ICC says that the shortage of tickets for matches including the final has upset major sponsors associated with the ICC.

There are now 4000 tickets available for the final match in Mumbai. The ICC anticipates that box office sales could turn into a security hazard. “We are very concerned with the process to sell the remaining tickets (4,000) to the public. With the significant demand and little availability (i.e. after 20,000 were reserved for the MCA and 7,900 for ICC Commercial partners) there is potential for chaos and physical injury when the box office sales open,” the letter said.

Here is the entire letter:

Dear Mr Pawar

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 - Tickets

The Chief Executive has asked me to write to you in your capacity as the Chairman of the Central Organising Committee (of the World Cup) to express the ICC's serious concern regarding the sale and distribution of tickets for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, two issues which have been regularly highlighted at Board level in recent months.

These two issues have now reached critical status and require your immediate intervention:

1. Distribution of tickets already sold online by the agency Kyazoonga.

We understand that Kyazoonga have been unable to distribute all of the tickets purchased online by customers some months ago for the reason that they have not as yet received all the physical tickets from the respective cricket venues/associations. We have received many complaints from fans who purchased tickets but are yet to receive them despite having paid for these tickets more than six months ago and being informed at the time that these would be couriered to them by early February. Apart from the threat of claims for compensation from these customers, this is causing a significant public relations issue for the ICC.

We also know that the Kyazoonga website crashed on several occasions yesterday(Tuesday) due to the massive demands placed on the system when tickets for the final were placed on sale.

Moreover, we are very concerned with the process to sell the remaining tickets (4 000) to the public. With the significant demand and little availability (i.e. after 20 000 were reserved for the MCA and 7 900 for ICC Commercial partners) there is potential for chaos and physical injury when the box office sales open. For this reason we strongly recommend that this sale of tickets be cancelled and the tickets sold to defined cricket fans that are associated with the event and have requested purchase.

2. Distribution:

The second issue relates to the supply of tickets to the ICC for onward distribution to commercial partners. Notwithstanding our letter to Prof Shetty dated 9 February 2011, we have (as of last night) not received any tickets for Wankhede Stadium (Mumbai). Needless to say, we have received numerous complaints from our commercial partners, who have paid millions of dollars to receive rights and benefits which include the timely provision of tickets and hospitality. This is placing our sound relationships at breaking point and it is highly likely that some or all of them will seek compensation from the ICC and/or withhold payments due to ICC under their respective sponsorship agreements. To stress this unfortunate situation, the Chief Executive has asked me to quote from an email we received this morning from a major commercial partner

"I've informed Haroon of this too and will be forwarded this message-this is an USD 80 million sponsorship and to say you are bound by the BCCI is inexcusable".

We appreciate that the issue and distribution of tickets has proved to be a logistical challenge, however, it is also a fundamental and material obligation on the part of the Hosts under the Host Agreement. For ease of reference, clause 14.2 of the Host Agreement reads as follows:

"Host shall, at its cost, be responsible for the printing, stamping, and distribution of Gate Tickets and Hospitality Tickets for the Matches subject in each respect to IDI's approval and Host will exercise strict control at all times (from printing to distribution) to ensure orderly and efficient production and distribution of the Gate Tickets and Hospitality Tickets and security relating to the same, including avoidance of counterfeiting."

It is apparent that certain Hosts have failed to comply with this requirement.

The success of the Cricket World Cup depends, to a large extent, on the orderly and efficient production and distribution of tickets. ICC is being seriously challenged and is therefore bitterly disappointed by the above state of affairs, which threaten to undermine everything that all of us have worked so hard to achieve over recent months.

For the record, you will appreciate that, to the extent that ICC receives claims for compensation from either disgruntled fans or unsatisfied commercial partners, it will have no option but to set off such claims against any distributions due to the relevant Hosts. Accordingly, all ICC's rights under the Host Agreement in this regard are strictly and expressly reserved.

We will be grateful for your intervention and assurance that the above issues will be addressed as a matter of urgency.

David Becker, Head of Legal, ICC

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